Felipe Barbosa's photos are infused with an in-your-face sense of "street" that is hard to match. About six years ago he left his homeland Brazil for New York where he fell in love with a French girl and moved with her to Paris where he continues his photography. Find out how he approaches people for their portrait and exactly how he manages to capture them in such a provocative light.
Did you always want to be a photographer?
Not really. And i still don't know if I will do it forever, but I'm having fun for the moment.
Which do you prefer - Street photography, fashion shoots or portraits? what are the pros and cons to each?
At the moment I'm more into street portraits; which is for me, nothing more than a mix of those three.
I like the randomness of street photography - finding the right person in the right moment is something really exciting.
If I do meet someone interesting in the streets and something is missing, I just approach and exchange contact info to keep in touch and make some nice portraits or a nice shoot further down the line. This can also happen if I spot a nice location and am lacking someone to shoot.....I keep the spot and scenario in mind and try to reproduce it in a further shooting...I like doing this too.
You always manage to get good lighting - what is your secret?
Light is the easiest and hardest thing in a photo. I freestyle and sometimes it works... Sometimes it just doesn't.
How do you find the opportune time to approach someone or a group on the street for a photo?
This is my favorite part, I guess. First of all, a nice smile always makes things easier. Also, each person I approach makes me more confident for the next one. I prefer to approach and risk getting "no" as reply then to regret not asking at all!
What do you think is the trick to good directing as a photographer?
Give space enough to let people be themselves to have freedom to ask them to be someone else you have in mind. My way to direct is to put the person in the scene you have in mind and make it match to make it credible. Philip Dicorcia once said, (and I'm paraphrasing here) that the best way to direct someone is by not knowing them beforehand.....he said he doesn't get to close to the people he works with before he shoots them - I totally agree with that. I believe that to direct someone, you can't know too much about them and I do think that as a photographer, I need space to create a scene and make it my own in some ways.
If you could only choose one artist (any kind) to shadow and apprentice, who would that be?
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Airplane mode - Off.
Who is the first person you see most days?
Who is the cool kid pushing the stroller in this photo?
Images courtesy of FELIPE BARBOSA
interview ASHLEY MUNNS
More to read